October 15, 2016
So I decided to try out the Four Hours Off project my English Comp students will do in a few weeks, in which they have to go four hours without any screen interaction: no phone, no computer, no tablet. Shouldn’t be too hard, I figure: after all, I spent at least 40 years without a computer in the house, and almost 50 without a pocket-phone to check so obsessively. I figured I would begin this morning (sleeping hours don't count in this project, haha), deliberately not setting the alarm on my phone so I wouldn't reach for it to start the day. But I failed almost immediately, reflexively grabbing my phone when it pinged with a text about my bank balance a few minutes after I woke up. A good thing really when I read the text, but I realize I’ve come to rely on these alerts to manage my account. A simple deposit yesterday would have avoided this situation and the need to respond, as I quickly wrote a check and photo-deposited it. The result: I’m solvent again. But I have to start over on my Four Hour Phone Fast.
I do pretty good after that – breakfast, dressing, plotting out my exercise in light of the dour, damp gray skies and promised rain, a few maintenance chores I would probably have put off to play WWF or to check FB to see what debacle the Orange Haired One has created. Those Dr Suess Trumpisms on Twitter were pretty hilarious last night, but they don’t assuage the anxiety I feel about Trump’s calls for violence to his base. Something bad is going to happen. Last night, on Dailey KOS, (HuffPost?) I did see that the FBI had foiled one home-grown terrorist bombing plot already, arresting three men with plans to bomb a mosque in NYC the day after the election. Such a sickness. He refuses to obey the rule of law. He should be arrested and thrown in jail.
I do want to find out what has happened since then. But FB and social media is such an amplifier, increasing anxiety and angst; it is so thick with emotional reactions, so thin with reasoning and rational though. I counsel myself to have patiences: all that rage and vitriol will still be there this afternoon. Meanwhile, I continue with my knitting, completing another two inches on my arm-warmers. I fiddle with an earlier, failed attempt at a fingerless glove; I could just throw it out, though some catnip and fringes could turn it into a cat toy, I think. Hmmmm.
I’m sailing along pretty well, until I go into my workroom to shelve some books (see, I’ve been tidying up instead of gnawing my fingernails over FB or WWF or Pinterest) and instantly I’m drawn to the quiescent computer screen to check if X replied to my message about Tuesday, which he hadn’t. Shoot and shenanigans. But then I congratulate a friend on her new position aaannnnd --- I realize I haven’t even lasted three hours without a screen, two and three-quarters to be exact. Will this workroom have to be off limits, too? I am shocked at how quickly I forgot my vow and got sucked into the need to check, the need to communicate.
Oh, well, I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe a Sunday, a day of theoretical rest, will be easier. I could try again today, but there’s grades to enter (online, natch) and I want to text or call the kids, see how they are doing on this rainy weekend. It’s the kind of day that calls for hot chocolate around the fireplace with a good novel. Though we don’t have a fireplace, I can’t eat chocolate anymore and --- I have essays to grade.
Until the morrow.